Daddy Duty

Sleep, Eat, Diaper Change. Repeat.

JJ saying I love you at 3.5 months!

Happy Memorial Day! Judge for yourself, is he talking or not?

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The Golden Period

This is an update to the May 3rd post. I’m trying to link to that post, but my firewall settings got all messed up and are blocking all of my attempts to insert the link. AAAAHHHHH Technology!

Before I get into the post, I just wanted to share that I was in a technology seminar today hosted by Constant Contact about email and social media marketing. I was simultaneously annoyed and cracking up as old person after old person would ask questions about why their twitter page is missing “like” buttons, how can they retweet in facebook, how to tweet more than 140 characters, how to increase the fonts on their phones, computers, etc to make it easier to see. God save the old people! I applaud them for trying to learn technology and know I will be in their club one day, but for the love, take a beginning class somewhere else. The “young” experts teaching the class handled the questions diplomatically and I applaud them for that. Unfortunately, I can’t help but feel cheated as I could have learned much more without these __________ asking so many __________ questions.  Again, there are no stupid questions (says the stupid people…).

Getting back on topic, Claire and I have hit our stride. Dare I call parenting easy? Ok, let’s not get crazy,.

Free time. I’m starting to remember what it is. Claire and I have had the most freedom we’ve had since before JJ was born. He’s sleeping longer at night, taking regular naps, and eating from bottles with little supervision. We’ve gone from 24-7 caretakers to periodic providers, touch-uppers, teachers, and playpals. This role is so much better!

In reviewing our past and the anticipated future (talking, talking back, walking, walking away, etc), I think this is as good as it gets!  Many a parent has told us that parents with infants usually fail to realize how good they have it until they have a walking, talking toddler. Well, Claire and I know it. We still have our moments, but we resemble humans again and that’s a good thing!

This week, one of my sisters and one of my cousins came in for the Holiday weekend and we’ve been having a ton of fun partying it up baby style!  It’s messed with our routine slightly, but the memories and fun we’re creating are worth it. He’s still smiling a bunch and he loves his door jumper.  He’s big enough that he can slide out of his car seat, bouncer, and glider if we haven’t gotten a chance to buckle him in yet. Speaking of the glider, we swore it broke the other day as it was barely moving. We then took JJ out of it and it rocked like normal. It appears someone has surpassed the weight limit :-)!

We all grow at our own rates, right? I’d have to say JJ appears to be in the middle in growth at the moment.  With some babies his age, he looks like a giant.  Just as we begin to envision our 6 footer, we then see other babies the same age that make him look mini. Eventually, it’ll all even out, but it’s interesting to see how fast and slow kids grow at times.

That should do it for now. I’m going to go enjoy my “free time” now!

JJ stats:

3-7 ounces of milk a feeding. We were trying to keep the amounts more consistent with the larger feedings, but noticed an increased amount of spit-ups, so we’re backing off when he seems remotely full so as not to push it for now. With the lower amounts, he doesn’t spit up giving us less to clean!  🙂

6-9 months clothing. He can fit 9 months lengthwise, but doesn’t fill the width out really.

Size 2 diapers in the day and 3 at night. We just opened a box of Jean diapers and got excited!  Yeah!

He’s standing with the help of 2 fingers under his arm pits now. He can walk assisted backwards, but only takes a few steps forwards before stopping.

Our wishful parenting feels he’ll be crawling and speaking anytime now.  He’s mastered tummy time and has a nice strong neck and strong arms. He just hasn’t figured out how to coordinate his arms with his legs to move. Regarding speaking, lots of noises that sound close to words, but it’s just coincidence at this point.

 

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Scrapbook Complete

I saw the greatest thing at Staples the other day, a pre-done scrapbook.  All you have to do is add your own pictures, but the pages are decorated with the embellishments and what not. I’m so envious of my artsy friends who have beautiful scrapbooks.

Despite my best efforts, my skills simply don’t produce the same results which further fails to inspire more attempts. Most people have never seen a single scrapbook of mine as I’m too embarrassed to showcase my masterpieces. However, thanks to a product like this, I can scrapbook with the best of them now!

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Kriss Kross – Jump by JJ

So, we’ve been keeping JJ’s adorable actions to ourselves by not posting videos so far. We just love him too much to share and are selfish that way. Just kidding. Actually, I finally just got around to organizing his videos and will start posting some more. However, I didn’t want to keep you waiting any longer and wanted to release this gem shot today!

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Happy (Belated) Mother’s Day!

It goes without saying that the hardest, most selfless job in the world is to be a Mother. You can’t help but imagine a blue Super t-shirt being worn by all the moms in the world. Who knows how they do it, but thank goodness they do! I am most appreciative of my own mother as well as for Claire for being JJ’s mom and my incredible wife. These two ladies have made me the man I am today and I am forever grateful. I know there are women in your life that you feel the same way about. As such, a Mother’s Day is the smallest thing we can do to appreciate these special angels. A Mother’s year would be more apropos. Thank you, thank, you, thank you!

As for our Mother’s Day, it started with breakfast.  I had intended for breakfast in bed, but that’s impossible since we’re both up at an unGodly hour for JJ’s morning diaper change. While Claire got ready upstairs, JJ and I snuck away to the kitchen to make a feast. Before I go any further, I should explain that Claire is the chef in our family. I was taught long ago in an economics class that other people had a competitive advantage in cooking and that I should let them do it. It wasn’t economically sound to use my skills to cook when I had neither a forte, nor a passion for it resulting in wasted time and ingredients.

Nonetheless, today was her day and I needed to whip up a meal! So, I decided on a 3 layer Biscoff spread toast tower, a heart shaped egg, some smiling Chappel Hill sausage that my loving cousins sent me on request and some Hershey’s triple chocolate brownies. Dare I mention that I also attempted pancakes that unfortunately had a scone consistency instead of being pancake like? sans the pancakes, here’s the end result:

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I then figured I needed to have JJ involved in the festivities and proceeded to throw him into a shopping bag with a bow around him. I’m seriously having more fun with this than Anne Geddes. JJ’s such a trooper!

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We then called Claire down to share in our surprise and she was happy as ever to find her little man patiently waiting to be unwrapped. After trying my breakfast, we concluded that we should go to a real restaurant!  Hehe.  We decided to go to Baby Stacks to feast on their Red Velvet Pancakes, Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Banana Cream Pancakes, Chicken Fried Steak and Huevos Rancheros.

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Red Velvet Pancakes!!!! They taste just like the cake, maybe even better.  They’re so good!!!

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Lemon Ricotta Pancakes were fantastic as well!

ImageBanana cream pancakes were good, but not as good as the other two.  If you’re at home and want awesome waffles or pancakes, try pouring Jello pudding on them while it’s hot and hasn’t cooled yet. Delish!


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Despite my best efforts, I’d have to rate my own breakfast a 1 compared to Babystacks.  Stuffed and happy, we then proceeded to the Bellagio to look at the Tulips, watch the water fountain show and the Monet exhibit. All in all, it was a fantastic day shared with my loves!

On a side note, JJ has been so good lately. He’s sleeping well, smiling all of the time, and just happy, which in turn makes us happy. We are enjoying this age so much and almost wish it would never end. Teething, walking, and girlfriends are coming up and we’d rather just concentrate on savoring these moments. We’re snapping photos and videos left and right, but film just doesn’t do him justice.  He is the cutest little guy in the world!!!!!!!

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How 10 minutes can save you $4,231 (this is about miles and no this isn’t spam)

I know there are some of you that are all into miles and others of you who are miles averse.  If you’re not into it, skip this post.  If you’re on the fence or into it, read this because it pretty clearly demonstrates the value that points can have.  Although this example requires a couple of credit card sign ups, it’s so worth it and way better than the free t shirt they offer you in the mall and airport.

Take a look here.

Also, since you’re still reading, I’ll assume you’re interested in miles.  There’s one more super deal going on that doen’t require a credit card.  If you have a Suntrust Bank near you, JUMP ON THIS.  Unfortunately, it’s more of an East Coast bank so I can’t do it this year.  However, in years past, I’ve enrolled my entire family to the tune of literally a million plus delta miles for hardly any effort or cash outlay.  Take a look here. You’ll end up with 55,000 Skymiles for $195.00. As always, feel free to comment or message if you have any questions and I’m always happy to help and say hi!

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How to shop online…and save a ton of money

I’m going to approach this using a real world example of a breast pump transaction I just did. Hold on, hear me out.  Regardless of whether you need a pump or not, I almost guarantee you’re leaving money on the table when shopping online by paying too much and I’m going to show you how to stop it.

Before I get into that, I wanted to share a quick update on how we got to be buying this pump. JJ has finally started taking to bottles! Going back to his birth, we were nearly forced to give him a bottle or he wouldn’t be released from the hospital, so we gave him one. Once home, we tried to switch back to the breast immediately based on the advice of our lactation consultant. Since then, he’s been exclusively breastfed until now. For the past 5 months, he would do whatever he could from swatting to throwing the bottle away and has refused to eat from one.

We thought it was a bottle nipple problem-too soft/hard, too fast/slow flow, shape, etc. As a result, my house has a mini bottle lab resembling Consumer Reports trying to figure out which bottle would work with him. However, all of the sudden, at 5 months, he is taking a bottle allowing me to feed him and giving Claire a much needed break. Who knows why or if something changed.  Let’s just accept it for what it is and be thankful.

As he wasn’t eating from a bottle, we had returned the breast pump we had originally bought pre-birth. We had chosen the Medela Advanced Double Pump as it’s highly rated and is also what our hospital used. In case you weren’t aware, these suckers are expensive!

So, I’m now in the market for one. I did my normal search of Amazon, Babies R Us, etc and ended up settling on JCPenney. Let me show you why:

Babies R Us is at $269.99 + tax.

Amazon is at $259.00 tax free.

JCPenney is at $250 +tax (so $270.25 in Las Vegas).

Seeing these numbers, most people would buy at Amazon since the tax savings trumps JCPenney’s lower price (unless you’re in Oregon where there’s no sales tax).

However, through some clever maneuvers, I ended up purchasing at JCPenney for a net price of $177.52 or a savings of over $81 by doing 4 steps before I purchased from JCPenney.com. Here’s how you can do it too:

1. Log in to Topcashback.com and get referred to Plastic Jungle. By doing this, you will receive 4% cash back of your total purchase at Plastic Jungle  ($200.54*.04 = $8.02 cash back) 

FYI TopCashBack is an affiliate referral site that shares its commission it receives with you. Basically when you shop at Plastic Jungle or any of the other retailers listed (Gap, Victorias Secret, Macys, etc), they give you back the commission they receive from the retailer.

Plastic Jungle is a seller and buyer of retailers’ gift cards.  Basically, if you have gift cards lying around, they will pay you in cash for them at a discounted rate.  Say, they may give you $80 for a $100 value card.  They then sell these cards for say, $90, clearing the $10 spread as profit. For this example, we are only buying someone else’s unwanted JCPenney gift card.

2. At PlasticJungle.com, I spent $200.54 for someone else’s unwanted $271 JCPenney electronic giftcard (you can get regular gift cards mailed to you if you don’t want an electronic card) representing a savings of 26% off. Now, that I have the card, I could just go to jcpenney.com and buy, but we’re not done yet.

3. Knowing that JCPenney pays affiliate sites commissions to send it business, we need to see who is sharing the largest amount of their commission.  To do this, I went to Evreward to find out who’s paying the most for JC Penney.com purchases. Reviewing the list, I see Ebates is offering 6% cash back. So, for my $250 purchase, I’ll receive $15 cash back ($250*.06).

4. From Ebates, I then click through to be referred to JCPenney where I finally make my purchase using the gift card I purchased.

I know it looks like a lot of steps and click this site to go to this site and so on, but once you practice it, it’ll become 2nd nature to deal hunt like this and you can do these extra steps in literally a few minutes.

For the effort, you’ll save over $81. Here’s the final math:

Spent $200.54 in real cash to receive gift card.

-Received $8.02 cash back ($200.54*.04) from TopCashBack for purchasing the gift card

-Received $15 cash back ($250*.06) from Ebates for purchasing the pump at JCPenney 

That leaves a net price of $177.52 even after paying tax. Heck, used ones on Craigslist are listing for more!

In case you’ve never shopped like this, I know it can get confusing, but I’m here to help. As always, thank you for following and I truly appreciate your time.

P.S. As if this wasn’t enough of a deal, use a miles or cash back card and you’ll earn an addition point or two off of this already amazing price!

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On Being Small

I was giving JJ a bath the other night and couldn’t get over how incredibly happy he was to play in the water. I think he’d stay in his tub all day splishing and splashing if I let him. It’s truly remarkable when compared to the speed showers that adults do (1) to conserve water and (2) to get to the next thing on their to-do list. He could care less about taxes, a mortgage, insurance, blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer etc. He is so care-free and I love and appreciate it.

Then, when I took him out, I was reminded that despite all of his growth, I could technically wipe his whole body down with an absorbent face towel, not hand towel, face towel. Also, being small, his closet always looks empty despite his numerous outfits. I’d guess he has 50 outfits hanging in various sizes, but they hardly take up any room since they’re all so small. Furthermore, I can’t tell you how much baby lotion and shampoo I’ve mistakenly wasted when I squeeze out the adult sized squirts out of habit.

Another facet of being small is that you have an excuse for everything and people even find a lot of  your otherwise repulsive behavior enjoyable. His burps, farts, staring, at times rude interruptions, and sleep episodes mid-conversation are cute. Ahhh, the life of an infant.

It’s so cliche, but there are days Claire and I never want him to get any bigger. He’s at an age now where he’s curious and smiles, but lacks the mobility, skills, and energy to cause any damage.  It’s a ton of fun playing with him in spurts until he tuckers out and rests giving you a break. As we’ve seen with friends’ children and obviously anticipated, we have a wild ride ahead of us. From walking to running to jumping to driving, oh my, driving-tear, tear, it’s going to be a wild ride for sure.  Yet, such is life. As a parent, we obviously look forward to being with him for his first steps all the way to his globe-trekking, but there is something so beautiful at this age that I just wanted to notate it.

Today, JJ can officially roll and scoot himself around. We used to be able to put him on our bed and let him play by himself with minimal supervision. With his increased muscle strength and mobility, he can now move to the point where he’ll fall off the bed without supervision. This means that we won’t be getting any rest anytime soon. 🙂 We’ll be okay as long as he keeps smiling at us!

One more thing, regarding JJ’s smile, he loves to study other babies. So, if you have a baby, let’s hang out.  If you don’t have a baby, we can still hang out, but JJ may not be as interested in you. We fear he may be looking for a girlfriend! Also, have you heard of baby sign language? My good friend just told me about it. Basically, babies can sign before they can speak, so if you teach them to sign, they can “tell” you when they’re hungry etc. I don’t know much about it, but I can’t wait to learn.

Ok, one more last thing.  It’s teacher appreciation week. As my mom’s a retired teacher, I have a lot of respect respect for all teachers in whatever form they come in. It’s hard work and they deserve to be appreciated so do something nice for the teachers in your life. In case you didn’t know, money can buy happiness.  The twist is that you will be happiest when you use your money for other people according to this TED Talk. I completely agree!

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JJ Pictures update

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Five months

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